Jun 11, 2018
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is making lots of noise with its workplace raids, stretching from restaurants in suburban Chicago, to a meat-processing plant in Tennessee, to a garden center in Ohio.
And they are intentionally publicizing the brutality of the border patrol. They brag about separating families. They defend a border patrol agent who shot and killed a 20-year-old Guatemalan woman in Texas.
The attacks against immigrants are not new. The Obama administration deported record numbers of immigrants. But Trump is viciously boastful about these attacks.
Trump’s goal is not to drive immigrants out of the country, no more than that was Obama’s goal. Even the spectacular raids only result in the deportation of dozens of people.
No, the main goal of all this is to terrorize immigrants into staying in the shadows, staying obedient – and cheap – workers for the bosses.
Trump also boasts about these attacks to play to his electoral base and reinforce anti-immigrant attitudes, especially in the working class. The workplace raids even make a show of going after employers. But ICE makes sure they don’t disrupt business too much. Employers in suburban Chicago were warned of raids in advance, allowing them to tell their workers to stay home. When the Ohio Landscape Association complained about a shortage of workers in light of the raids – the government agreed to issue 15,000 new visas for “guest” workers.
In fact, the attacks on immigrants are attacks on all workers. Most immediately, they are aimed at keeping wages low for all of us. But they are also an attack on us morally and politically. We are all part of the same class, and we cannot accept inhuman treatment of workers, no matter where they were born.
The only way workers will reverse the decline in our standard of living will be when we stand up to the bosses – the ones who have actually stolen the wealth. And when we do that, the more workers involved – including immigrant workers – the stronger our struggles will be.